Making time for your dog’s exercise is as important as taking out time for your gym sessions. Like humans, dogs also need regular physical activity to stay fit and healthy.
The amount of energy your dog needs, depends on many factors and differs from dog to dog. It’s advised that most dogs should exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. The range for the recommendation exercise is between 30 minutes to two hours. You determine your dog’s daily exercise needs by paying attention to the following factors:
A Pet’s Age & Exercise Requirements
The age of your dog is the first factor that helps in knowing the minimum requirement of the exercise. Three phases of the dogs can be categorized as per their age: Puppies, Adults and Senior dogs. The need for each stage is different and it should be taken care of to avoid further issues.
Younger dogs and pups are the most active. We often see them going around the house and playing by themselves, which is sufficient for them to maintain good health.
A good rule of thumb is that five minutes of exercise is required per month of age, which can be more than once in a day until the pup grows up completely. For example, the puppies that are four months can stay fit by doing some physical activity for 20 minutes twice a day. So, let your little one enjoy the indoor exercise till it grows.
When dogs grow into maturity, they require a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise depending on their breed. More active dogs often enjoy a good walking session of an hour to 90 minutes. Play various outdoor games with them as adult dogs enjoy games and it also gives them time to bond with you. Taking your adult dogs for hiking and jogging helps them in maintaining their overall health. So, if you have an adult dog make it a point to take him for a brisk walk or some exercise at least for an hour. You can also invest in a dog walker to keep up with their exercise schedule.
Aged and senior dogs find it difficult to stay physically active. They may tire more easily, move more slowly or deal with more aches and pains. However, even senior pets need daily exercise. A proper exercise of 30 to 45 minutes is recommended for older dogs. You can also take your dogs to swim as it works well for the aged dogs and also doesn’t bore them. Many senior dogs adhere to stay home in their old age but try and get your dog out for short walks to keep them healthy.
Dog’s Exercise Needs Vary By Breed
The breeds of the dog also play a crucial role in their overall nature and choice of lifestyle. Many dog breeds prefer a sedentary lifestyle, whereas others prefer a fully active one.
Small and Toy Breeds
The dog breeds that are small in size, such as poodles, Yorkshire terriers are less active and like to play games indoor such as a frisbee or balls. You can motivate them to be more active by offering treats. Make sure that your tiny friend has a good session between 40 to 60 minutes. Climbing up the stairs and playing around in the house also adds up as an exercise for them.
One might think that giant dog breeds such as Great Danes might enjoy lots of exercises, but well, that’s not the case. Due to their weight, it becomes difficult for them to stay more active and hence an hour of exercise works well for them.
For pet owners with an active lifestyle, breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds are an ideal fit. You don’t have to worry about their exercise as they are playful and energetic on their own. Make sure that active dogs get plenty of time outside and lots of toys to keep them moving. Taking them for a hike or a brisk walk also helps in their betterment.
Flat-nosed breeds such as Shih Tzu or Pugs can have respiratory problems and become overexerted with too much exercise. Be cautious when they run for a longer time and make sure that their exercise session does not last more than an hour.
Pet’s Medical Conditions
Dogs with underlying health concerns and medical conditions can make a significant impact on their overall behavior and lifestyle.
Dogs suffering from arthritis, leg cramps or other joint-related diseases may resist exercise as it elevates the pain. In such cases, take them around for short walks only or give them the added support of a mobility aide.
Don’t force your pets to walk more as they might find it difficult and get irritated by it. A healthy dog can exercise for a good hour that helps in improving their digestion and gut health. It is also advisable to take your pets to the veterinarian if you see him or her limping and lazing around way too much.
An Active Dog is a Happy Dog
Every dog is unique, and your dog’s needs may change based off how they’re feeling. Make sure they get the exercise they need, but if your dog isn’t in the mood to go out, change your plans. Spend them inside playing with their favorite toys at home and wait to walk another day.
Make sure your dog gets at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, and you can motivate them to do more gradually. Keeping your pet active, will keep them happy, healthy, and it’s good for you too!